Category Archives: Clubs/Music

Sydney Caribbean Festival

Jamaican Products presents the 2021, now 2022, Sydney Caribbean Festival.

Come share our Caribbean culture, experience our unique food and be entertained by our distinctive music and dance on Saturday 26 February 2022.

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States

This family friendly celebration started in 2009 as an independence celebration for Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago.  In 2017, the Festival was opened by the Hon Julian Leeser MP, with Beyond Blue as the supported charity.  In 2018, the Hon Linda Burney MP opened the Festival with Lou’s Place the chosen charity.  Now the event has grown into a Caribbean festival focusing on the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states.   

Purpose of the Sydney Caribbean Festival:

Flags of CARICOM Member States
  • To showcase and share our rich Caribbean culture, unique food and distinctive music and dance with family, friends, neighbours and the broader community.  
  • Support recognised charities.

Venue Details

Venue:  North Ryde School of the Arts, 201 Coxs Road, North Ryde NSW 2113

Date:  Saturday 26 February 2022

Time:  Opens at 1pm and closes at 8pm

The venue has wheelchair access and accessible toilet.

The map shows the venue location which is accessible by public transport.  Consult with the NSW Transport Trip Planner for bus times from Epping Station, Macquarie University Station or Macquarie Park Station.

Parking is available in the vicinity. There is no onsite parking.


Tickets are available for two types of attendance, in person and online. 

Reggae Music

In Person ticket charges* are:

  • Adults (18+)  $25
  • Tens (5-17)  $15
  • Kids (under 5)  Free
  • Family Special (Parents + 3 children)  $60

Online ticket charge* is: $12

*Ticket prices exclude GST and ticketing fees.

Purchase your ticket now.  

Steel Pans

The festival is funded through ticketing, sponsorship, and run mainly by volunteers.  The Sydney Caribbean Festival is the brain child of Hope Kidd, Managing Director of Jamaican Products the main organising and sponsorship body.  Jamaican born, Hope spent 3 years at St. Augustine, in Trinidad & Tobago, becoming the first female engineering graduate from The University of the West Indies.  Apart from believing in the importance of bringing together the community, Hope usually earmarks a percentage of the money raised to support a recognised charity.  This year 2 charities were selected. We are asking patrons to bring toiletries for donation to local charity Will2Live. A financial donation will be made to a Caribbean Red Cross.  

CARICOM Member States

The 15 CARICOM member States are: Antigua and Barbuda; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Montserrat; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago.

Join us – for a memorable night “Pon a Walk” down memory lane.

Reggae Music

Last month UNESCO added Reggae music to the list of international cultural treasures.

So how did this Jamaican music evolve and why the accolades?

While sometimes used in a broad sense to refer to most types of popular Jamaican dance music, the term Reggae more properly denotes a particular music style that evolved out of the earlier genres of Ska and Rocksteady.

Millie Small - Ska
Millie Small – First International Ska Hit

The first Jamaican recording studio opened in 1951 and recorded “Mento” music, a fusion of European and African folk dance music. Ska originated in Jamaica, combining musical element of Mento and Calypso with a bit of American Jazz and also Rhythm and Blues. Ska music was made for dancing, being upbeat, quick and exciting. The first Ska record was cut in 1959. Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop” (1964) was the first worldwide ska hit.

Rocksteady originated in Jamaica around 1966 as a successor to Ska and a precursor to Reggae. Dances performed to Rocksteady are less energetic than the earlier Ska dances. The first international Rocksteady hit was “Hold Me Tight” (1968) by the American soul singer Johnny Nash. This hit reached number one in Canada.

The Reggae genre evolved in the 1960’s from the Rocksteady and Ska musical styles. The term Reggae was derived from rege-rege, a Jamaican phrase meaning “rags or ragged clothing,” and was used to denote the raggedy style of music.

Reggae music is recognised by its lament-like chanting and emphasises the syncopated beat. It is distinguishable from other genres in the heavy use of the Jamaican vernacular and the African nyah-bingi drumming style.

Bob Marley
Bob Marley – International Reggae Ambassador

Bob Marley is the world’s best known and loved international Reggae ambassador. Marley’s career began in 1963 with Rocksteady band, culminating with the release in 1977 of his internationally acclaim Reggae solo album “Exodus”. Marley was not only a Reggae singer, but a committed Rastafarian and a political activist. Through his music, his words and his actions, he earned forever a place in Reggae fans hearts around the world.

A seminal moment for Reggae was the 1973 release of the movie “The Harder They Come” starring Jimmy Cliff. The movie soundtrack consisted of only reggae hits.

Since the early days in Jamaica, and through to the present day worldwide, Reggae is filled with Social commentary, reflections on life (often by the poor and those marginalised by society), musings on systemic corruption (living in Babylon), a call to love, raising African consciousness, repatriation, teaching self-reliance, and of course rejoicing the blessings of life, and giving praises and exaltations to Jah Rastafari.

Dogs and Reggae Music
Reggae Music to Relax Dogs

Reggae has also been shown to help our canine friends relax.

Reggae is Jamaica’s largest cultural export, and since its humble beginnings from the ghettos of Kingston, reggae has grown to become a worldwide cultural and musical expression. There are reggae bands from every habitable continent of the world.

At its heart and root, Reggae music is still “Rebel Music”, not always easy to pigeon-hole into a neat category or label. Enjoy this Reggae video.

Panzfest 2015 in Brisbane

Panzfest Logo
Panzfest Logo

Panzfest 2015 in Brisbane offered a weekend of pan music. Although Jamaican I consider myself part Trini having spent 3 of my formative years in Trinidad and Tobago. So there I was with my body swaying to the music of the 10 competing steel bands.

Steel pans
Steel pans

The steel pan is the National Instrument of Trinidad and Tobago and belongs to the percussion family of instruments.

Traditionally the steel pan was made from 55 gallon drums discarded by the oil refineries and is possibly the only instrument made out of industrial waste.

Steel pan
Steel pan

Nowadays, many instrument makers do not rely on used steel containers but get the resonance bodies manufactured according to their preferences and technical specifications.

There are several ways in which a steelpan may become out of tune. The most common causes are by playing the steelpan with excessive force and incorrect handling. Thus it is quite common that steelbands arrange to have their instruments tuned once or twice a year. A tuner must have great skill in his/her work to manage to make the notes sound both good and at the correct pitch. Much of the tuning work is performed using hammers.

Jamaican Products stall
Jamaican Products stall

My Jamaican Products stall was one of many supporting the festival. Fortunately my husband Tom was there to man the stall when I went off to catch up with my West Indian friends and sway to the music.

The weather on Saturday reminded us we were in sunny Queensland. We watched as the regular wind bursts reordered our display and kept us cool. Sunday started as a beautiful day. After lunch there was a thunder storm and we got drenched. Then it was time to pack up and plan for the return journey to Sydney.

See you in two years at the next Panzfest.